If you are planning to have your wedding in an exotic location but haven’t decided yet where, you certainly won’t go wrong by choosing Dubai.
And who could be better to bring you all of the inspiration and information you need to for getting married in the desert city of Dubai than the talented team of wedding concierge experts at Aghareed by Lafayette Weddings?
So, if you’re searching for information on getting married in Dubai, look no further! This destination wedding guide has all the details that you need.
Dubai is one of the seven territories that make up the United Arab Emirates, a country located in the Arabian Gulf. By far the most popular city in the region for visitors, Dubai has blossomed from its humble beginnings as a pearl-diving and fishing community into a bustling new metropolis. It now takes pride of place in the Middle East as an international business hub and major tourist destination, attracting millions of holidaymakers each year.
In spite of its amazing changes, Dubai still retains a unique Arabic charm that only adds to its attraction. Its traditional old world heritage combined with an exciting vibrancy as a city that is going places makes it a spectacular venue for couples seeking a unique wedding experience. If you are considering getting married in Dubai, you need to know exactly how to go about arranging it and what you can expect. Aghareed, the UAE-based wedding concierge service, answers some important questions for you about having your most important day in the wonderful city of Dubai…
If you want to legally marry, then you need to be in Dubai for a certain amount of time and the final decision will be made by the religious official you want to conduct your service. We suggest that you do all the paperwork for your marriage in your home country and then have a blessing in Dubai.
If you live in Dubai, you can legally marry at a local church, such as Christ Church in Jebel Ali or St. Mary’s in Oud Metha. There are a few priests and vicars in Dubai who will carry out the legal ceremony at an external venue, such as at a beach for a blessing. Contact the church to arrange a meeting with the vicar or priest. The next step is that you will be asked to attend marriage classes with a group of other engaged couples.
Dubai is synonymous with stylish, luxury hotels and the five-star treatment on offer is further showcased through the wedding packages. From small and chic ceremonies to opulent and extravagant celebrations, these top hotels and classy clubs will go the extra mile to ensure your day is dazzling.
Guests will be spoiled for choice with hotels, as there are hundreds located throughout the city, on the beachfront, in the new Marina and Downtown developments, and in the older traditional areas.
I would suggest that guests on a budget get together to pool their resources and hire an apartment at Jumeirah Beach Residence, or even a villa on The Palm. Please check out Dubai Stay for more details and holiday rentals.
It is best to avoid public holidays (Eid, Easter, Christmas) as these are very busy times of the year and flights will be expensive. Also, check the Dubai Calendar for exhibitions and events (Dubai Gold Cup, Dubai Rugby 7s, Gitex Exhibition) as this will be a busy time for hotels.
Popular wedding months are October–April for outdoor weddings. Rain can be expected between November–February but there are only a few days rain per year. However, to cover every eventuality it is worth asking your venue what back up plans they do have for wet weather or sandstorms (the other occasional hazard). Most will have a ballroom that can be used.
Entertainment and traditions
Most weddings will follow the traditions of their own country. You can easily bring in an Arabic flavour if you want to honour Dubai’s rich culture. Such touches include having Arabic cuisine for your food, or hiring a belly dancer, or an Arabic oud player.
There are many talented musicians and reputable entertainment agencies in Dubai. One way of finding a performer is by witnessing them in in action at a bar or event and approaching them personally to ask them if they would be interested in performing at your special day (be aware that they may be contracted to the venue and restricted with external bookings). Agencies can supply bands, musicians and alternative entertainment, such as fire dancers, magicians and caricaturists – of all budgets and nationalities. You will pay slightly more for an entertainer that comes through an agency as there will be an agency fee.
The western market is characterised by three-course sit down dinners. If you are considering having your wedding at an outdoor venue, you may find that the establishment restricts you to a buffet only, due to the kitchen not being close enough to the wedding area and therefore tricky for service. Buffets are very popular as they are both cost effective and offer an informal atmosphere. Alcohol is very costly in Dubai so I would suggest speaking to the venue regarding the drinks packages they have on offer. Most venues will give you a certain amount of hours all inclusive for a set amount.
- It is really important to research venues and get as much information as possible from them. Consider your budget and where you would like to have the celebrations (garden, golf course, beach, etc). Many venues cater for certain types of guest, so speak to them in detail to make sure the one you are thinking of is the perfect venue for you. Don’t underestimate the number of guests who will be willing to travel for you! I regularly meet couples who think they can host a small wedding as guests will decline the invitation – but who wouldn’t want to come to Dubai!
- If you are travelling to Dubai from an international destination, I would suggest holding your wedding mid-week, perhaps on a Wednesday. This way you can arrive on the Saturday before, have a relaxed few days of tourist activities, such as a desert trip, going up the Burj Khalifa, visiting the Wild Wadi Waterpark… etc. You could then have pre-wedding drinks at a Ladies’ Night on the Tuesday, as Tuesday night is a popular night for deals for ladies out on the town. You could then arrange a brunch on the Friday after the wedding to round it all off.
- Finally, remember that this is your big day, no one else’s, so make sure you plan your wedding as you wish and not how a family member or friend tells you to have it. Also, investing in a local wedding planner is vital to making sure you get the best, most affordable suppliers. A wedding planner can attend meetings with venue and suppliers on your behalf – a much better investment than travelling to Dubai every few months to organise the arrangements!
- Great places that visitors to Dubai should visit are: a desert tour, either for a day or overnight, drinks at Atmosphere at the Burj Khalifa, afternoon tea at the Burj al Arab or a 5-star hotel such as the Ritz Carlton or Zabeel Saray, brunch with your wedding party after the celebrations, a visit to the gold souks and dinner on Bateaux Dubai, a culinary cruise that leaves from the Dubai Creek.
Has this Destination Wedding Guide tempted you to say ‘I do’ in Dubai?
Thank you to the wedding concierge service team over at Aghareed by Lafayette Weddings for this detailed big day information.
Destination Wedding Guides are meant as just that – a guide to getting started with your destination wedding planning. Please always consult an official or expert (such as Aghareed) in the country you wish to marry, to ensure you have the correct and up-to-date legal paperwork requirements, especially for a legally binding wedding ceremony. We would always recommend using a reputable wedding planner who can fully assist you in such processes.